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NCAA March Madness betting: Colorado in rare spot as one of favorites for Pac-12 tourney

Frank Schwab
·3-min read

Conference tournament betting previews: ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC

Colorado doesn't have a great basketball history. The Buffaloes' only championship in the Pac-12 tournament came in 2012 when they shocked the field as a No. 6 seed. They never won a Big 8 or Big 12 conference tournament. They haven't been to the sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament since 1969.

That's why it's surprising to look at the Pac-12 bracket and betting odds. Colorado is the third seed in the tournament. They are tied for second-best odds in the tournament, at +250. They're ranked No. 16 in KenPom's rankings, the second-highest Pac-12 team just behind No. 15 USC. This is one of Colorado's best teams in decades. Its .700 winning percentage is the program's best since 1969.

Colorado Buffaloes guard McKinley Wright IV leads his team into this week's Pac-12 tournament. (Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Colorado Buffaloes guard McKinley Wright IV leads his team into this week's Pac-12 tournament. (Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Led by fantastic senior guard McKinley Wright IV, the Buffaloes are solid on offense and defense. Coach Tad Boyle has done a great job making a moribund basketball program a consistent factor in the Pac-12. Winning a Pac-12 championship, and doing so as one of the pre-tournament favorites, would be a big step for the program.

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Here's a betting preview of the wide-open Pac-12 tournament, using BetMGM's odds:

Best bet: USC +250

Having the best player in the conference is a big help in the tournament, and USC has that in Evan Mobley. Mobley, a 7-foot freshman phenom, is likely to go in the top five picks of the NBA draft. He could go as high as No. 2 overall. The Trojans have a good team around him, too, with a ton of size that leads to a lot of blocked shots and offensive rebounds. Aside from losing two games in the always-tough Colorado/Utah road trip, USC has been perhaps the Pac-12's most consistent team. Their thrilling buzzer-beating win over UCLA last weekend was a good way to enter the conference tournament.

Team to avoid: UCLA +650

It might be enticing to grab UCLA at a decent number, but this isn't a great Bruins team. UCLA went 1-4 against Oregon, USC and Colorado, the top three seeds in this tournament. They finished the regular-season on a three-game losing streak, losing to ... Oregon, USC and Colorado. Aside from a 3-point home win over Colorado back on Jan. 2, the Bruins have failed every test against the top-end teams on their schedule. That makes it hard to bank on them making a run this week.

Sleeper: Oregon State +2500

It's hard to find a team outside of the top four to get excited about, but Oregon State has some intrigue. The Beavers have been a competitive team all season, as shown by their 15-9-1 record against the spread. They did beat USC and Oregon back in January. They're one of five teams that got a first-round bye, and the other four have odds at +650 or lower. It's hard to believe Oregon State is going to win the Pac-12 this week, but their odds are a value.

Full Pac-12 tournament odds via BetMGM

Oregon +200

USC +250

Colorado +250

UCLA +650

Stanford +1600

Oregon State +2500

Utah +3500

Arizona State +5000

Washington State +6600

Washington +10000

California +10000